Bloggers who sell text link ads must be aware that your potential link buyer might be using the Advance fee fraud (or Nigerian 419 email scam) techniques to dupe your money. As netizens got more aware and stopped responding to Nigerian 419 money spinning emails, this idea is hitting unaware bloggers at large.
Nigerian 419 Fraud
An advance-fee fraud is a confidence trick in which the target is persuaded to advance relatively small sums of money in the hope of realizing a much larger gain. The number 419 stuck since it refers to the article of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud.
F-Secure, an Internet security company, has revealed that the fraud starts with an email requesting you to reveal the price of advertising text links and banners on your site.
“If you fall for the bait and sell something for $2000, you’ll receive a check for $3000. The perpetrator of the scam will then claim that a mistake was made and ask that you refund $1000 via money transfer. So you send $1000 via money transfer, which cannot be stopped and in the end when it finally clears, the $3000 check ends up being a fake. It’s an old fraud that uses technology for a clever new bit of social engineering.”
Warning about the issue, DeepJiveInterests suggests two tips to avoid getting scammed, and protect your money.
1. Investigate your buyer – by knowing their name, place of business, phone number and the actual website that they want to advertise
2. Wait for that check to clear. The cheque bounces and its all clear.
We also got this fraud email mail twice over the last few months and unsuspiciously referred them to our advertise page. There was no further response after that, maybe because we don’t sell text links. Why? Because Google hates paid text links and the Google PR crash and bounce was enough.